China has been caught hiding information about the coronavirus from the World Health Organization (WHO), which is at odds with the praises the WHO has showered on Beijing for its handling of the outbreak.
This, as recordings of internal meetings obtained by the Associated Press show that the WHO struggled to get needed information from China, during the critical early days of the coronavirus pandemic.
According to the recordings, WHO officials complained in meetings held in the week of January 6, that Beijing was not sharing the data they needed to evaluate the risk of the virus to the rest of the world.
“We’re going on very minimal information,” said Maria Van Kerkhove, an epidemiologist and the WHO technical lead for Covid-19. It’s clearly not enough for you to do proper planning.”
The WHO’s top official in China, Gauden Galea, said in one of the recordings: “We’re currently at the stage where yes, they’re giving it to us 15 minutes before it appears on CCTV [Chinese state TV].”
China reportedly confirmed that the coronavirus was contagious on January 20 and on January 30 the WHO declared a global emergency.
The report is said to have come as international scrutiny of China’s response to the outbreak grows and moves made to establish an independent investigation into the origins of the virus, which has infected over six million and killed more than 375,000 people worldwide.